An ADD mix of Noise, sludge, and danceable punk-like tunes collided at The Rose Music Hall with a powerhouse trio of bands.
Renowned Japanese noise band Melt Banana headlined the show, performing as the core duo of vocalist Yasuko Onuki and guitarist Ichirou Agata. Stacking cabinets and heads just a few feet from the front edge of the stage, the duo played in that narrow space, blasting through a catalog of mostly under-three minute songs, including a few covers.
Over their 23 year history, the band has employed bassists and drummers, some for touring and others for studio work, but on this night the drums and bass were recorded. Onuki controlled those backing instruments with a handheld keypad, swinging her right arm in wide arcs to introduce each new section of drum track. Agata played guitar with precision and a ferocity that astounded the crowd, keeping relatively in one place (compared to Onuki) and wearing his signature surgical mask.
American band Torche played second, initiating an audience-wide head banging session throughout their set. Although generally considered a sludge band, their music incorporates a number of influences, blending them into one that is unique to Torche.
The band is just over a decade old, but has only had one personnel change during that time–in 2014, St. Louis based Andrew Elstner replaced Juan Montoya, who left in 2008. The band performed as a trio during those years, but the addition of a second guitar has lent the band’s sound a depth and heaviness it lacked during their time as a trio.
Opening the show were the San Diego based Hot Nerds. Although relatively new on the scene–performing since 2010–the band is quickly gathering fans as they cross the nation. Less reliant on a noise element than Melt Banana, their songs have a frenetic energy that complements not only Melt Banana’s fast-paced songs, but also similar high-pitched vocals. At the same time, however, the mix of Alia Jyawook’s bass synth and (Jyawook’s long time partner) Nathan Joyner’s synth-sounding guitar work add a heavy, yet danceable element, backed by the precise and intricate drumming of Thomas F. Oâ€™Connell.